By: Yanika Saluja
Journaling has always been people’s go-to, but is it too overrated?
As kids, teenagers and even adults, we all have had a time in our lives when we wanted to keep a journal, sometimes just to vent or doodle — because let’s be honest, we were bored.
For some people, journaling is an escape from reality. Many of us, including myself, have so many mental health challenges like anxiety, depression and insomnia on top of everyday stress. At a certain point when you feel like you have no one to hear you out, you turn to writing your thoughts down on a piece of paper and keep it to yourself. Journaling can help you figure out what you are going through or the mistakes that you made. Moreover, it may even help you write down ways to deal with your problems.
I’m not going to lie, it does help sometimes. Yet it leads me to wonder: Is it actually helpful or is it just another reason to bottle up your feelings? Do we give too much credibility to journaling?
Writing down your emotions is good to keep track of your life, or see the progress that you have made mentally and emotionally, but does it really make your mental health better or is it just a bit too overrated?
Journaling is a good thing and can be a huge milestone during recovery. I myself used to journal for a while, and though it helped me jot down my thoughts, it didn’t really help me reduce or control my anxiety.
I have suffered with anxiety my whole life. So, I decided to make a journal where I would always write the cause of my anxiety attack, the trigger and what I did to control it. I also used to write about my day sometimes to let out my thoughts.
It went decent for some time, but after a while it began to be more of a burden and responsibility to write. I started to feel obligated to write in a journal and so, for the sake of completing the task, I did.
When it did not help me, I realized how much credit we give to journaling, and how talking it out with someone could be better than writing our thoughts down.
However, I understand that not everyone feels the same way. A lot of people do feel like they are getting better with journaling — it all really depends on the perspective.
I would like to argue that journaling can sometimes be more harmful and feed your anxiety. Journaling can lead to more overthinking as you would be going through the same thing all over again. Sometimes, in my experience, writing about negativity can cause you to spiral and may make you use your words against yourself. Journaling can often keep you isolated in your own thoughts leaving no room for growth or recovery.
Journaling is not a bad thing and I cannot stress this enough. However, what I do believe is that you need another outlet to give you the reassurance or the shoulder you are looking for.
Journaling is not something to be done just because it is a trend or because you are going through a rough patch in your life. Journal if you feel like it can really help you or if letting it all out on a piece of paper is what you want to do to feel better — not because your therapist or someone else told you to. Do what makes you happy and relaxed.